Panama’s Penedo laments Copa America Centenario exit

Jaime Penedo (pictured) is hoping that Panama's elimination from the Copa America Centenario will help the team grow for future challenges. (Photo: Mexsport)

PHILADELPHIA – Although starting the Copa America Centenario brightly with a 2-1 win over Bolivia, Panama was eliminated from the competition Tuesday after a 4-2 loss to Chile in its last group match.

It was the Canaleros’ second straight defeat, following a 5-0 setback to Argentina on Friday.

The exit was disappointing to a squad that captured third place in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, following a runner-up finish in 2013.

Long-time goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, a key figure in the team’s successes dating back to the 2005 Gold Cup final, says that the Copa experience was one from which to grow.

“It’s sad because we started off winning and with a lot of hope,” the 34-year-old custodian expressed. “I think it is a tournament where we faced great teams from South America and it is going to serve us for the future.

“I think that each one has to look at themselves. They have to see what they can improve, be self-critical and know what we need if we want to have more success in our region, referring to our region as CONCACAF.”

The statistics show that only Haiti (12) conceded more goals than Panama (10). Those numbers are concerning in that the Panamanians had only allowed nine goals in their previous 11 competitive matches. It is worth noting, however, that Haiti and Panama were the only two CONCACAF representatives to play each of its three group-stage matches against South American opposition.

Penedo wants the defensive issues to be rectified prior to the resumption of World Cup Qualifying on September 2, when a win over Jamaica will guarantee Panama a place in the Hexagonal.

“The tournament leaves me feeling badly,” he finished. “I think there were a lot of goals (conceded). There are many things to correct. There are many things and we hope to do it, but we lacked. You have to know and I prefer that we review everything with a cool head.”